Hall of Fame Inductee

Logan A. "Jack" Vilas

Born: 05/25/1891
Died: 05/15/1976
Inducted: 10/14/2000

In the spring of 1913 Vilas decided that he would own a flying boat. He visited Glenn Curtiss in Hammondsport, NY and paid a down payment on his Hydro-Aeroplane and enrolled in the flight school.

He watched his plane being built while learning to fly and graduated in four weeks becoming a certificated pilot, holding U.S. Hydro-License No. 6, Aero Club of America.

A Chicago native, Vilas became the first person to fly across Lake Michigan when he completed a 64 mile over-the-water flight from St. Joseph, Michigan to downtown Chicago on July 1, 1913.

In 1914, Vilas flew in Milwaukee with the Wisconsin Aero Club and, in the summer of 1915, he and his flying boat were hired by the Wisconsin Conservation Commission to fly fire patrol over the Northwoods. A conservation landmark, the Vilas flights were the first use of an airplane for forest fire control in the world.


Vilas takes delivery of his Curtiss Hydro-Aeroplane, ca 1913
Vilas takes delivery of his Curtiss Hydro-Aeroplane, ca 1913
(photo courtesy Glenn Curtiss Museum)
Plaque commemorating Vilas crossing of Lake Michigan
Plaque commemorating Vilas' flight
across Lake Michigan
(WAHF photo)
Vilas at Trout Lake Wisconsin
Vilas and his Curtiss Hydro-Aeroplane
at Trout Lake Wisconsin
(photo by Wisconsin Conservation Department)
Vilas Wisconsin Historical Marker
Vilas Historical Marker, Vilas County, WI
(WAHF photo)


Search our site

Join us on Facebook and Twitter!
The nomination process for individuals that you consider worthy of induction into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame is straightforward and has just one requirement. Individuals wishing to make a nomination must be a member of the organization. Complete the membership application (pdf) to become a member, fulfilling that requirement. The nomination form (pdf) is simply a coversheet for the substantiation materials that you provide. We ask that you provide as much material as possible so that we may give due consideration to your nominee.
Memberships and Merchandise 

Membership dues and merchandise sales contribute to the WAHF operating fund and help spread the word about your organization. WAHF logo merchandise is now available! Join | Shop | Donate

© Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame
3980 Sharratt Drive
Oshkosh, WI 54901-1276